Brian O'Driscoll celebrated his 100th Test appearance by scoring a dramatic late try to salvage a 20-20 draw for Ireland against Australia at Croke Park.
The Irish pounded away at Australia’s line in a nail-biting climax to a thrilling contest and were rewarded by O’Driscoll’s try with a minute to go.
Ronan O’Gara added the conversion from in front of the posts to deny the Wallabies victory and conclude their Grand Slam tour ambitions.
Former Leinster back row Rocky Elsom appeared to have won it for Australia upon his return to Dublin when he crossed in the 62nd minute.
But Ireland refused to concede defeat with Tommy Bowe, who crossed earlier in the half, almost wriggling over before rugby’s newest centurion made the breakthrough.
Ireland’s play was light years beyond what England produced at Twickenham yesterday, yet for all their invention they failed to make the impact on the scoreboard they would have wanted.
The outcome also salvaged some pride for Irish sport after the Republic’s football team was beaten by France in the first leg of a World Cup play-off at the same venue last night.
Australia had taken a second-minute lead when Drew Mitchell seized on a spilt ball to sprint home.
O’Gara and Matt Giteau exchanged two penalties apiece but Australia ultimately paid for the latter squandering two more.